Sandy's Books Read in 2023, #5

É uma continuação do tópico Sandy's Books Read in 2023, #4.

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2023

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Sandy's Books Read in 2023, #5

Editado: Out 2, 4:55 pm

Having regained reliable connectivity, I wanted to share some scenery, artistic and otherwise, from my September jaunt to Vancouver Island.

The sunsets were gorgeous, though the forest fire smoke from central Washington obscured the beautiful Olympic Mountains. I especially liked the dark silhouette of trees against the skyline. Mobile phone camera limitations notwithstanding, there were indeed lovely rosy streaks above the golden tones. I take lots of sky photos as models for my textile artwork (posting next, to explain).

Dinner at a friend's property overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuga was splendid. The most astounding sight however, was this massive cruise ship, seemed like it was practically right next to the little breakwater a couple hundred yards off my friend's beach!

Apparently carrying 3,000 passengers for a weekend of frolic, the ship was heading in on a Friday night to dock at Victoria's Ogden Point (a deep port facility originally for shipping after the Panama Canal was opened). In the background we could see other ships waiting for the pilot boats to guide them in. Port Townsend and Port Angeles are on the American shore behind all this activity.

Lastly, there were several hikes along shore side trails.
~ looking across the Haro Straits to the (American) San Juan Islands.

We were watching an Orca fin surfacing and disappearing, though I missed catching that in a photo. There is a GBH (Great Blue Heron) on that reef, though it is too far away to see in this image. I think the herring or perhaps grilse, were running, because of the whale rising and diving, and lots of herons ~ a reason I do miss my coastal roots.

Editado: Out 3, 10:37 am

About my artwork: textile wall hangings using fabric to "paint" the subject matter.

Skies. One cannot buy commercially printed fabric which looks natural, unless coincidentally the Indonesian batiks succeed. Usually, I am relatively satisfied with painting high-quality 100% cottons to do this.
~ A fabulous book for those interested in 'sky dyes', by Micky Lawler.

I painted these "skies" outside in the shade on my patio.
and ~

Stormy skies are my most challenging.
~Usually the piece looks like a rag used to wash the kitchen floor.

This painting is my most successful so far. I have yet to use it in any work. If I stayed off LT and also abandoned my TBR list for a few months, I'd probably get lots of artwork done.

Editado: Nov 29, 10:17 pm

Reading list update ~

1. Fuzz (Ed McBain) ***½
2. A Murderous Grudge (JM Roberts) ***
3. Stormbreaker (Anthony Horowitz) ***
4. A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting (Sophie Irwin) ****½
5. My Lady Judge (Cora Harrison) ****
6. The Black Swan (Nassim Taleb) ***½
7. Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques (Peter Reinhart) ****
8. Evolutions in Bread (Ken Forkish) ****
9. Breaking Bread: A Baker's Journey (Martin Philip) ****
10. Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques (Jeffrey Hamelman) ****
11. Bleeding Heart Yard (Elly Griffiths) ***½
12. The Maid of Ballymacool (Jennifer Deibel) ***½

13. The Cartographers (Peng Shepherd) ****½
14. The Last Mapmaker (Christina Soontornvat) ***½
15. Canoe & Camera (Thomas Sedgewick Steele) ***½
16. The Railway Children (E. Nesbit) ****
17. Miss Benson's Beetle (Rachel Joyce) **
18. Green Rider (Kristen Britain) DNF (see comment #52)
19. A Civil Contract (Georgette Heyer) ****
20. Murder on Black Swan Lane (Andrea Penrose) ***½
21. Venetia (Georgette Heyer) ***½
22. Eight Days of Luke (Diana Wynne Jones) ***

23. Conrad's Fate (Diana Wynne Jones) ***½
24. Writ in Stone (Cora Harrison) ****
25. Murder in the Mystery Suite (Ellery Adams) ***½
26. Foster (Claire Keegan) ***½
27. Eligible (Curtis Sittenfeld) ***½
28. Murder at Half Moon Gate (Andrea Penrose) ****
29. Murder in the Paperback Parlor (Ellery Adams) ***
30. The Sting of Justice (Cora Harrison) ****
31. Camps in Rockies (W. A. Baillie-Grohman) ***
32. Murder at Kensington Palace (Andrea Penrose) ****
33. Murder at Queen's Landing (Andrea Penrose) ***½
34. Eye of the Law (Cora Harrison) ****

35. The Nonesuch (Georgette Heyer) ****
36. The Clairvoyant Countess (Dorothy Gilman) ****
37. Kaleidoscope (Dorothy Gilman) *****
38. Hot Art (Joshua Knelman) ****

39. Playing for Pizza (John Grisham) ***½
40. The Last Remains (Elly Griffiths) ****
41. Who Cries for the Lost? (C. S. Harris) ***½
42. The Periodic Table of Elements (Jon Chad) *****
43. Amazing cows! (Sandra Boynton) *****
44. Penric's Labors (Lois McMaster Bujold) ***
45. Lavender House (Lev AC Rosen) ****
46. The Missing Heiress (Karen Charlton) **

47. Me Three (Susan Juby) ****
48. The Sinister Booksellers Of Bath (Garth Nix) ****
49. The House of Many Ways (Diana Wynne Jones) ***
50. Troubled Waters (Sharon Shinn) *****
51. Visual Thinking (Temple Grandin) *
52. Royal Airs (Sharon Shinn) *****
53. Scales of Retribution (Cora Harrison) ***
54. Jewelled Fire (Sharon Shinn) ***½
55. Unquiet Land (Sharon Shinn) ***½
56. Solstice Wood (Patricia McKillip) ***½
57. Sketch by Sketch (Sheila Darcey) **
58. Unplugged (Gordon Korman) ***½

59. The Broken Citadel (Joyce Ballou Gregorian ) ***
60. Decision at Delphi (Helen MacInnes) ***½
61. Court of Fives (Kate Elliott) ***½
62. Sensitive: The Hidden Power of the Highly Sensitive Person in a Loud, Fast, Too-Much World (Grannerman & Sólo) ***½
63. A Lady's Guide to Scandal (Sophie Irwin) ****
64. Jacques Pépin Art Of The Chicken ****
65. The Apothecary (Maile Meloy)****
66. The Plot (Jean Hanff Korelitz) DNF

August & September
67. Shadowland (Meg Cabot) ****
68. Ninth Key (Meg Cabot) ***
69. Izzy Hoffman is Not a Witch (Alyssa Alessi) **½
70. Reunion (Meg Cabot) ****
71. An Illusion of Thieves (Cate Glass) ***½
72. Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli) ***
73. A Bone from a Dry Sea (Peter Dickinsen) ****
74. The Tightrope Walker (Dorothy Gilman) ****
75. Darkest Hour (Meg Cabot) **½
76. Haunted (Meg Cabot) ***½
78. Jade Dragon Mountain (Elsa Hart) ***
79. The Dressmaker (Kate Alcott) ***½
80. Twilight (Meg Cabot) ***½
81. Maddie's Ghost (Carol Fisher Saller) ****
82. Stone Soup (E. B. Mann) **½
83. A Donnybrook Affair (Robert E. Kearns) **
84. Calvin and the Sugar Apples (Ines F. Oliveira) *
85. Murder at The Mena House (Erica Ruth Neubauer) ***
86. Murder at Wedgefield Manor (Erica Ruth Neubauer) **

87. Come Hell or Highball (Maia Chance) *½
88. The Descent of Woman (Elaine Morgan) **
89. Last Call at the Nightingale (Katharine Schellman) ***½
90. The Reluctant Widow (Georgette Heyer) ***½
91. The Body in the Garden (Katharine Schellman) ***½
92. The Convenient Marriage (Georgette Heyer) ****
93. A Traitor in Whitehall (Julia Kelly) ***
94. The Lock-Up (John Banville) ***

November & December
95. The Bullet That Missed (Richard Osman) ***½
96. The Vintage Shop of Second Chances (Libby Page) ****
97. The Man Who Died Twice (Richard Osman) ****

See post #124 for the updated list. I missed several in this list.
Actually up to 105 books read.
Only recently discovered: my "2023 reading" tag was preceded by a semi-colon instead of a comma, so I missed several books when updating by viewing my whole collection by tags. Some books were re-reads so I added this year's tag, but fluffed the punctuation.

Editado: Nov 29, 10:31 pm

☃️☃️ Currently reading ☃️☃️ November updated today (the 29th):

Off my own shelves:
~ With Lawrence in Arabia (Lowell Thomas)

These titles, abandoned ~
Struggling with Everybody's Fool (Richard Russo).
Update: I abandoned this story. I think I need comforting reading with amusing characters. Sully was not. I know there are fans and converted readers who stuck with the story, but "my mileage differed" (at this time).

~ Perfume (Patrick Süskind) also an e-book.
I have read less than 50 pages and ... detested the narrative. Again, YMMV. Looking elsewhere for a more comfortable narrative.

Editado: Out 2, 5:57 pm

Okay, warning,

Come Hell or Highball ~ ~ Maia Chance

😡 ~ I was really on fire about this book; if you enjoyed it, *fine*. I am not criticizing anyone's choices or their liking the fun aspects or whatever was entertaining.

Spoiler alert
Nevertheless, how can the publishing industry not get past the homophobic stereotyping, not to mention the garbage reveals that insinuate the culprit did it because of his place on the gender-identity spectrum? This is such a medieval attitude and publishers can darn well influence authors to think about how offensive such careless writing affects people's attitude. Kind of like, quit calling black Americans niggers or apes, fer criss sakes.

My review was succinct, and more polite on the general book page:
Nothing like indulging in highballs, detective novels, and chocolate layer cake to cope with stress and a loveless marriage. I expected a romp and a light-hearted approach to detecting. However for me, the stereotyping of the characters was insensitive and downright passé. I didn't care much about the story but when you're stuck in an airport with flight delays...

Editado: Out 2, 6:27 pm

On that ranty note, I do welcome you all ~ ,
and offer top notch beverages of the caffeinated sort, enjoyed at the Fernwood area café The Parsonage in Victoria. All in-house baked food, too.

Out 2, 2:21 am

Happy new thread Sandy!

Some patience, not a whole lot though!

Out 2, 3:37 am

Happy New Thread, Sandy! Many good reads ahead.

Out 2, 3:45 am

Plenty of patience from me, Sandy, I well know how difficult making a new thread can be.

Happy new one. xx

Out 2, 7:02 am

Hi Sandy! Happy new thread and belated congratulations on reaching 75 in September.

I loved the “We Do Not Have WiFi – Talk to Each Other – Pretend It’s 1995” sign. I’ve taken a snapshot of it and may post it on my thread, with proper credit to you, of course. *smile*

Out 2, 7:09 am

HAppy new thread!

Out 2, 9:35 am

Happy new thread!

Out 2, 10:20 am

>7 quondame: Hi Susan.

Thanks ~ ~ my morning laugh about not a whole lot (of patience).

It was bad timing (for being on a computer) for the electrical power problems, especially the kind that dips and flickers with fluctuations. There wasn't a wind to account for it, either. Of course I kept unplugging my lap top but it was only at 20% so I persisted.

We have had no rain to qualify as anything but "join-up-drops" and then (thankfully, I assure you) 2 days of rain (not torrential). I did wonder if, in this day and age, water can "leak" into something that dried out tremendously? Not that I expect anyone to answer that, but curious minds, you know?

Out 2, 10:27 am

>8 vancouverdeb:, >9 PaulCranswick:, >10 karenmarie:, >11 figsfromthistle:, and >12 foggidawn: : thanks for kind wishes. I hope I manage better to visit everyone; I do struggle to think of what to post but I assure you all that I have enlarged my book bullet list rather astonishingly this past month.

>10 karenmarie:, I am always happy to contribute the amusing and decorative images that abound here. The café is the real source but on LT, I guess that doesn't matter.

Out 2, 10:41 am

New 🧵 orisons, Sandy! *smooch*

Out 2, 6:27 pm

>15 richardderus: Hi Richard. Thanks for the orisons, as you love to say. I usually need to look up the meaning but I do know it's a best wishes-y thing.

Also, in case new posters want to see the fabulous café I discovered (new to me since I last visited the area), worth putting on your radar should you ever plan to travel on Vancouver Island.

Out 2, 8:38 pm

Happy new thread, Sandy!

Out 2, 10:09 pm

>17 drneutron: Thanks Jim.
I was just now cruising through your thread, not having visited for awhile. Lots of interesting discussions.

I liked hearing about the space samples (OK that's not technical, yeah) and so forth. I should check out the science news more often on BBC. I think benitastrnad was the one saying it was more in-depth, globally-speaking.

Out 3, 2:21 am

Happy New Thread , Sandy! Many good reads ahead. Lovely photo toppers!

Out 3, 6:46 am

>5 SandyAMcPherson: We definitely agree about this double-plus ungood thing. Yuck.

Happily the photos and pretty artwork made up for the lingering bad taste of that crummy book.


Out 3, 10:44 am

>19 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb. I hope you're reading good stuff.
I have a couple BBs in the TBR from you. They must be popular titles, I'll have a longish wait.
Thanks re my photos up top. It's been awhile since I wrote about the artwork I like doing. I was derailed by pandemic stress these last couple years and couldn't seem to settle to designing anything. Read lots, though!

>20 richardderus: Always nice to find agreement from fellow LT-ers! Thanks for dropping by to say so.

Out 3, 10:47 am

Hi Sandy. Rather late to wish you a happy new thread but I have not been posting much lately. Love your toppers, though, while I am not a fan of cruise ships, I do love skies! You have a talent!

Out 3, 11:09 am

>22 jessibud2: Hi Shelley. Thank you for your kind remarks. Nice to see you here.

Though I am not officially productive (and use textiles as a purely meditative pastime), it is a satisfying process. I even have a small following hereabouts in my 'neck of the woods' who are very supportive.

I hope your journey caring for how your mother is looked after has some rewards. Look after yourself, too!

Out 3, 8:36 pm

>5 SandyAMcPherson: I enjoyed both versions of your critique, and you had every right to be Crabby!

I love textile art, and I hope you'll share more examples of your work. If I were granted 3 chances to be able to create anything, a generational novel would be No. 1, and a quilted landscape "painting" would be No. 2 on my list. Still pondering No. 3, but it would probably be musical.

Editado: Out 4, 9:57 am

>24 laytonwoman3rd: Hi Linda, I like your creative dreams. Go for it!

Thanks for your support in liking both versions of my book reviews.

I made various textile items from when I was about 12 y.o. My father taught me 'cause he was the sewist in our family. I mostly made simple stuff like aprons, dolly clothes and later I tried my hand at dressmaking.

That didn't go so well but I was a dab hand at curtains, even "drapes". It was the 1960's by then so it was a "thing" converting Indian (as in from India) tablecloths into bedspreads and 'soft goods' as I learned to call the placemats and so forth. I liked the Indian cottons not to mention other gorgeous fabrics like sari.

I eventually moved into the art world rather than strictly 'quilting' patchwork. Lots of fun, with no rules and angst over whether something joined up properly at the seams. Met a lot of nice people and when I retired, was able to devote actual real time to fooling around in my studio.

I hope you will give that generational novel a chance. What's not to like?

I joined NaNoWriMo many years ago and wrote 3 stories with support from that online community. It was a hoot. The author talks and support were gratifying.

Nothing publishable but it was very satisfying. I wrote a kid's book for my granddaughter and 2 "memoir fiction" novels. I didn't take it very seriously having published a fair number of technical articles throughout my working life. I'd had enough of editing and revisions!

Out 4, 10:02 am

"I'd had enough of editing and revisions!" I did so much editing and revising in my work life that it's really hard for me to start from scratch to write something. And when I do, it's hard for me to stop editing myself. There's plenty of material in my family history for a great novel, I feel. (Doesn't everybody? And they're probably right.)

I have no skill at sewing. In high school and early college I did make some simple skirts and A-line dresses for myself. But I didn't show any talent for innovation or design. I'm strictly an admirer when it comes to fabric art.

Out 4, 3:10 pm

I love seeing your art, Sandy. Like Linda, I hope you'll continue to share them with us. It's always fun to see what 75ers get up to besides reading.

Out 4, 11:15 pm

>26 laytonwoman3rd: The fun big thing about writing memoir fiction is that it can be family factual, except using pseudonyms for the real people's names (so no one has a hissyfit and gets on your case).

*Best of all*, you don't have to be accurate. Tell a story. Make it an adventure. Create some other consequences that could have happened.

From NaNo, the best advice from my first year was to "draw a picture of yourself as The Editor". Then find a closet and put the editor inside then shut the door! Keep the door mentally locked. Don't show your work to anyone until you are ready.

For me, writing like this is totally addictive.

Out 4, 11:21 pm

>27 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. Thank you for telling me that my arty sideline (fabric-junkie-addiction) will appeal. An incentive for me to get some of the UFP (unfinished pieces) done and dusted.

It is fun to see what others are doing in their lives. There are several needlecrafters (including knitters) that are so talented. I am all thumbs and one big-messy, especially knitting. The cross-stitch and embroidery talents on LT are stellar.

Out 5, 10:48 am

>28 SandyAMcPherson: I love that advice...put "Editor Me" in a closet. I must try that. I recently completed a set of stories about my life using prompts from, and it was fun. Our daughter gave my husband and me a subscription to their service that included weekly questions for a year, and a hardcover book collecting them at the end. You can add photos, swap questions or make up your own in order to accommodate stories you really want to tell, and do some design of the final product (some of which costs extra, of course). A very worthwhile project that, for me, turned out to be something of a memoir...which I was..ahem...editing right up to nearly the last day of my subscription.

Out 5, 11:15 am

NaNoWriMo is an excellent turbocharger for writers. Filled to the brim with good ideas and tips. Best of all is the kick to WRITE. You can fix it later, but by definition can not fix what does not exist.

Out 5, 11:20 am

>30 laytonwoman3rd: Very intriguing, Linda. I've not heard of Sounds like a good way t generate incentive.

>31 richardderus: Amen! For sure.

Out 5, 6:19 pm

Happy new thread, Sandy. Your sunset picture at the top is so pretty!

>2 SandyAMcPherson: I also really like your skies paintings! I wish I had the talent to do something like that.

Out 6, 10:34 am

>33 atozgrl: Irene! How nice to see you drop by. Thank you for the comment on sky painting.
It's easy and fun, though I make many that aren't as successful. I posted my recent favourites. The effects are simple, you know? Big crystals of salt (not the fine table salt kind) dropped onto the wet cloth with fresh streaks of fabric pain and presto! there's a random pattern of colour.

Out 6, 4:04 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian friends.

Out 6, 6:40 pm

>35 richardderus: ha ha ... Turkey ~ our National bird (politically-speaking)...

Editado: Out 7, 10:37 am

#88. The Descent of Woman: The Classic Study of Evolution (Elaine Morgan)
I was intrigued by the references to this book in Peter Dickinson's A Bone From a Dry Sea. While Dickinson's story only nibbled at the edges of the theories of Morgan's treatise, The Descent of Woman delves fully into a feminist interpretation of the evolutionary and cultural aspects of human evolution.
For my money, the science behind the author's premise was flimsy, perhaps even the source of unfounded speculation that wound its way into Morgan's narrative. Interpretations and theory in human evolution have sparked tremendous controversy, as different agencies favour their preferred view point. Using the biblical Genesis story does little to promote credibility for how the females actually lived. And therein lies a great flaw to a supposedly academic text.

One never 'proves' a theory and my reading of this book begs the question why were other interpretations of the evolution of humans not discussed? Those may counter the author's point of view, but there was nothing written to convince the reader that Morgan's ideas have superior merit. The attitudes expressed came across as an agenda to promote female equality, yet the ancient historical record is not of the quality to establish the life females lived on the basis of a societal culture.

#89. Last Call at the Nightingale (Katharine Schellman)
Interesting era to read about from the view of impoverished Irish sisters and the New York scene during Prohibition years. The plot was fairly convoluted and at times seemed repetitive in the twists. Strong characterizations and subtlety with the gay/lesbian inclinations were well written. Story pacing a bit uneven but overall an engaging mystery. Didn't find the wrap up very well finessed. Perhaps a lead into Book 2? The author was via a BB from foggi, who posted about The Body in the Garden. I'm liking Schellman's writing style in her mysteries.

Out 7, 11:06 am

>37 SandyAMcPherson: Oh dear...more "redressing the balance without evidence" non-fiction (of sorts). I read an angry Algerian-French woman's screed aganist populism and right-wingnuttery. Yes, yes, it's not my worldview either, Nabila, but now that we know we agree what shall we DO?

I need no help whatsoever getting worked up and outraged by the many cruelties and injustices in the world. What shall I, we, DO ABOUT IT?!


Sorry I shouted. I'm just done with being whipped into a pointless frenzy.

Editado: Out 7, 2:00 pm

>38 richardderus: *pat, pat* there was no intention to whip up a frenzy, so I'm sorry you had reason to feel outraged.
I figured *my* job was to call out the pseudoscience. It is an old book (1972) and why it was ever reprinted beats me.

I was more than a little astounded to see it argued in the publicity blurb as "the first to irrefutably argue the equal role of women in human evolution". There were certainly no grounds to claim the arguements were irrefutable,

Out 7, 11:28 pm

I remember >37 SandyAMcPherson: from way back. As a response to The Naked Ape it was quite delightful.

Out 8, 9:01 am

>40 quondame: I read Desmond Morris's book so long ago now that I honestly don't remember what I thought of it. Having moved into a mind set of calling out bad science many years ago, I would probably see your p.o.v. regarding The Naked Ape, if for no other reason than poking a stick in Morris' eye.

Out 8, 11:42 am

Happy new thread, Sandy. I love your paintings. I wish that were a talent of mine.

Editado: Out 8, 5:01 pm

>34 SandyAMcPherson: I never would have guessed that salt made those effects. How interesting!

Have a great week, and happy Thanksgiving!

Out 8, 10:39 pm

Hope that you have had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend thus far, Sandy.

Out 10, 12:36 am

Happy newish thread, Sandy. Thanksgiving wishes too. I'm behind on LT as usual or maybe more than usual because of travel part of which was on one of those colossal vessels such as pictured in your post #1.

Out 10, 7:59 am

Happy Tuesday!

I hope you had a great thanksgiving weekend!

Out 10, 12:16 pm


Out 11, 9:57 am


#90 The Reluctant Widow (Georgette Heyer)
Classic Heyer romance set in a rather Gothic circumstance.
This was a comfort re-read ~ I found it more amusing than previously, though the MC still strikes me as rather whiny.
With Heyer's acclaimed expertise in Napoleonic history, it was unsatisfying in the details relating to French agents operating in Britain at the time. Some of the adventurous parts could have dominated the action rather than Elinor's overdone (though admittedly justifiable) complaints about the high-handed treatment by Lord Carlyon.

Out 11, 12:10 pm

>48 SandyAMcPherson: Definitely one of my top five. I've seen this criticism of Elinor before - whiny - but I think my first read was in audio and the reader - Cornelius Garrett - brings out the humour of it so well that I didn't notice the whiny-ness!

Out 11, 1:06 pm

>42 BLBera:, >43 atozgrl:, >44 PaulCranswick:, >45 Familyhistorian:, >46 figsfromthistle:, >47 richardderus:, >49 CDVicarage:
Thanks for stopping by to leave your footprints. It's lovely to see y'all dropped by to visit.
I'm a little overwhelmed with the long list of 'have-to-do' errands and appointments this week and next week looks intimidating too. Flu and Covid vaccinations shots all at the same time . I wonder if I'll regret that idea....

Kerry, I think your experience with the audio reader - Cornelius Garrett - was a great choice. I have trouble hearing these audio files on my lap top, and I don't have good earphones either. I should perhaps find out what good devices are out there for listening to podcasts, for example.

Out 11, 3:59 pm

>48 SandyAMcPherson: I liked it when I read it, though I admit I thought Carlyon was doing her a favor running her life because Elinor would obsess for days about one lump or two in her *shudder* tea.

>50 SandyAMcPherson: I'd guess you won't regret doing the jabs on the same day. The COVID jab gave me a rotten day and a lousy night's sleep, but the cases are very much on the rise here and I've had no hints of trouble.

Editado: Out 13, 10:36 pm

Hi Richard. I hope the jabs are, in fact, offered on the same day, despite having both arms sore. It will save a lot of scheduling and clinic visits. I wasn't sure I booked it properly, though. I hate this online booking that doesn't clearly explain how to book both. The intro blabs away about it, but seems to then divide into either a flu shot or a covid immunization.

The reading goes apace in my neck of the woods. I have a small library cascade again. I seem to mismanage more than two books on the go at the same time.
I dragged my feet in getting on with The Vintage Shop of Second Chances (Libby Page) because I had another ebook ~ The Body in the Garden (Katharine Schellman) ~ on the go as well.

I missed that Libby Page's book expired, so I'm back in the queue. I was enjoying Vintage Shop, but it sort of palled on me at one point.

I am also reading an old (1924) book off my own shelves: With Lawrence in Arabia, this history was intriguing me to the exclusion of my library loans. It's much more readable than Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Published 1924 ~ ~ my father's copy, a birthday gift in 1935.
Although a dated writing style and a bit "over-the-top" adulation, I am certainly enjoying the story of the WWI desert campaigns.

Edited to note that the birthday gift book noted above (1935) was given to my father by a good friend of his, not me. I wasn't born yet (despite what certain people on LT have to say in that regard).

Out 16, 12:57 am

A gift from 1935, that's cool, Sandy, and, I know, way before your time!

Out 16, 9:53 am

>53 Familyhistorian: ha ha, Meg.
Thanks for dropping by. Glad to see you on the threads again.

Out 16, 10:10 am

>52 SandyAMcPherson: Oh, okay. You were born after 1935. I appreciate knowing what the cover story is so I don't accidentally blow it. :-P

I read that book, coincidentally, after my father's father died in 1978. He'd bought it himself when it was new...had the sticker from May Company on its back cover board...and Dad, in a rare selflessly generous act, sent it to his bookish son. Mama damn near keeled over when it arrived. My opinion of the style marches with yours, and almost fifty years later my strongest memory of the book is the pipe-smoke aroma.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom, OTOH, was one of the most torturous slogs of my 1990s reading. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was a breeze in comparison, and both were 1992 projects.

Out 16, 10:19 am

>55 richardderus: You remember what you read in 1978 ??!
That was back in the ice ages, before PC's even ... oh yes, pencil and paper times.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom, OTOH, was one of the most torturous slogs of my 1990s reading .

Out 16, 2:08 pm

>56 SandyAMcPherson: Mostly the sense memories, not the details of them all...but some books do make deep, deep divots in one's psyche.

Editado: Nov 1, 1:17 am

End of the month round-up.
Not a particularly productive reading month. I probably needed to get out and about more, but as you'll read below, that wasn't a wise idea.

#91. ~ The Body in the Garden ~
The story-line was a common theme of setting up a society lady, bending social norms: this is a foray adventure of a young widow returning to London and it's scandal-driven, rigorous social structure. Stumbling across a dead body proves a challenge to the forthright main character, Lily, in maintaining a demure existence while she finds her feet again in her circle of acquaintances.

The characters were well drawn, being definite individual personalities. Nevertheless, the plotting involved too many distracting side stories and unnecessary descriptions to maintain a strong interest in the action. The plot twists and reveals were clever, although overall, the uneven pacing didn't build on the discoveries effectively. For my enjoyment, I didn't find this a particularly engaging narrative style. A BB from Foggi (whose reviews are always engaging, I guess YMMV was in play).

#92. ~ The Convenient Marriage ~
This was a re-read; as always (for me) the story is full of amusing scenarios with Heyer’s signature accuracy in representing Regency manners and the aristocratic society of the day. The Earl of Rule and Miss Winwood (Horry) are delightfully-developed characters, taking readers on a rollicking tale of misunderstandings and the naïveté of a new bride, plus a gentle build-up in suspense to the dénouement.

#93. ~ A Traitor in Whitehall ~
Evelyne is a very likeable protagonist with an interesting backstory. For me, the first part of the narrative had me wanting to know more about her backstory, rather than her somewhat implausible incorporation into an investigation of espionage in Churchill's underground war cabinet rooms. Clearly, Author Kelly knows how to write an engaging novel but doesn't follow through with this promising beginning.

With no training and little awareness of what her recruiter expected, Evie barrelled through this adventure like the proverbial loose cannon. Wild speculation and over-riding her more senior colleague during interrogations created unconvincing situations which made for a flawed narrative. If the reader has a frequent Say What?! reaction, the allure of losing oneself in the story isn't realized. The resulting chase after a murderer, and discoveries during the investigation, lost some attraction because of my sense that the MC's position in the story was too contrived. However, this flaw didn't interfere with my wanting to see how the adventure played out.
I am on the fence about whether to put any effort in reading a follow up to this first book. BB from Richard (who was more open-minded in his review.)

#94. ~ The Lock-Up ~

Banville shows his talents in writing beautiful passages, with the prose so very atmospheric. Descriptions of the Irish countryside and towns, the people and the social difficulties were evocative of Ireland of the 1950's.

This novel was supposedly a mystery story about the unexpected death of a young woman and how her passing came to be. For my tastes, the prose and the detailed character development got in the way of the narrative. Just as the story started to flow, my reading was derailed by descriptive passages that were more about the characters of Stafford (police detective) and Quirke (the retired Dublin pathologist). The novel is sporadically engaging and readable but I lost the thread of the story several times so ultimately, found the Epilogue unexpected. I consider the plotting drowned in description, which for me counts as flawed workmanship.

A loan from a friend, to help me pass the time while I had to isolate due to illness in our house. Hopefully she won't ask me how I liked it, though I know she has greatly enjoyed the series. I had never read anything by Banville. Likely I won't be doing so in the future, either.

I had a go around with this virus myself, albeit mild though wearying. Not Covid-19 but very like a "normal" cold virus that runs rampant once the school kids are cooped up in snotty classrooms. At least, those events seem always so coincidental.

(Edited a few times to fix the touchstones. If they don't stick... well, I did try).

Nov 1, 12:59 am

It is good to have old favorite reads to trust when new books aren't quite up to whatever the mark is in your current mood.

I feel I've been having wonderful luck, but lately I'm probably just feeding off good recommendations.

Editado: Nov 2, 3:58 pm

>59 quondame: Hi Susan. Lovely to see you visited already... and so true.
I have delved a lot this year into old reads looking for the wonderful "lost in the story" thing that happens.

I do have some good recommendations but October seemed to not quite measure up. And previously, I had some real bloopers arrive via the Early Reviewers list. I'm taking a prolonged holiday from that.

I updated my currently reading, or trying to read, I should say.
I had to return one of the books when I was only a third of the way through and there were about 58 holds on 3 copies in the system.
I'll need to re-read from the beginning.

Nov 1, 9:41 am

>58 SandyAMcPherson: Sorry The Body in the Garden didn't work for you, but as you say, not every book is for every reader. Thanks for the compliment on my reviews!

Nov 1, 9:59 am

>61 foggidawn: Hi Foggi. I often find BB's on your thread and still have in mind reading some Intisar Khanani.
I was intrigued with this "new-to-me" author because of the favourable comparisons to Tamora Pierce and Rae Carson. Author Carson was new to me, when I was relatively new to LT and saw an enticing review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

Nov 1, 10:06 am

>62 SandyAMcPherson: Hope you enjoy Intisar Khanani's books when you get to them, and that I didn't oversell them! ;-)

Nov 1, 10:10 am

>63 foggidawn: Sell away. I always keep in mind that tastes vary.
For me, my moods vary and as >59 quondame: Susan mentioned, occasionally it's good to resort to rereading comfort stories, when I seem to not like my current choices.

Editado: Nov 1, 11:12 am

I gathered a BB from Foggi, and wanted the e-book...

except, can I wait this long?
I requested the physical book as well, to see which one might be available sooner.

Meanwhile, what other Scalzi title would be recommended as a starter with this author? Do keep in mind, I am terrible in coping with horror, thrillers, and suspense that are above the 'mild' level.

Nov 1, 12:01 pm

I liked The Kaiju Preservation Society maybe even a little bit better, though I liked both books very much. It's still fairly new too, though, so you may run into similar difficulties.

Nov 1, 10:34 pm

>66 foggidawn: Yes, I did. But I made up for that problem by putting a hold on an older book that you and a few other were promoting: Nettle & Bone. Lots of chance that request will appear within a month.

Editado: Nov 1, 11:05 pm

Over on Richard's thread, some conversation developed around how people decide to arrange (or not...) their books.

I always need some logical (to me) groupings, else I would never find browsing for my next read very satisfying. Genre, then alphabetical by author is my default.

I am fascinated in the choices people make in arranging their books. When I visit bookish homes, I love looking at the idiosyncratic arrangements and it's always surprising how good a conversation point that discussion becomes.

And I do know a number of people who arrange by book spine colour, within genre! In wall-to-near-ceiling height bookcases, I can see that certainly works to quieten down the busy impact.
Stats on RD's post show that only 10% sort by author, and even fewer (3%) arrange by color (i.e. colour, here 😁).

My messiest book spot is the TBR spot. That's a bedside table with one lower shelf besides the top surface. There's room for several books so not to be overwhelming. Entirely a pile in no specific order, and usually has the library loans or borrowed from someone.

Otherwise, one 5-shelf bookcase is for fantasy with a smidgen of Sci-Fi. Illogically by most standards, you may be amused that all my Georgette Heyers are on this shelf.

I suspect that is because this bookcase is my go-to comfort reading and the one most frequently accessed.

Non-fiction and Literary Fiction occupy a separate bookshelf.

Lastly, Mysteries have their own bookcase along with one YA shelf that isn't fantasy. There are less and less YA as I pass the best ones onto my grandchildren to take home. The rest of the YA are keepers for me because the kids have copies already.

Entropy rarely disarranges this orderliness because I am an assiduous library patron. My go-to choice is to not buy anything until I know I'm going to re-read it many times. Series by Bujold, DW-Jones, Shinn, and Tony Hillerman have long been resident in our house.

Since retirement, I culled everything I knew I wouldn't read again. And most are available in our well-stocked library system, should I regret having parted with anything.

What else do people like to do with books? I hope this posts sparks some ideas and conversation.

Nov 2, 12:03 am

There is a wall of built in bookshelves in my husband's office that are set up for paperbacks 2 deep. These are alphabetical by author. Otherwise it is pretty much anarchy, though usually books by the same author are in clusters. Most of my craft books are with other craft books and the cookbooks are all on one tall narrow shelf, but not entirely alone there.

Nov 2, 9:08 am

>68 SandyAMcPherson: Since most of my reading is now on the Kindle, I spend a lot of time putting books in collections by topic. I'm not required, therefore, to do further organizing because Ammy imposes alpha order on one's collections. Fine by me....

Tree books, what few I still have in my room, are alpha by author because there aren't enough in here to need further division.

Not wild about #93, eh? It was pleasant...not world-beating, but pleasant. Your quibbles are all very reasonable, so permaybehaps this author's not one to add to your rotation...?


Nov 2, 10:54 am

>68 SandyAMcPherson: I sort my fiction books by genre, then by author. Nonfiction I clump together by subject; I don't have enough of them to need more organization than that. Unread books are shelved by date of acquisition, and unread ARCs are shelved by publication date. That makes it easier to either find that new book that I just got, or to feel accomplished for knocking an older book off the TBR shelf.

Nov 4, 6:38 am

>68 SandyAMcPherson: We have four main groups: Dutch literature (510 books), translated literature (763), children's and YA (519), and poetry (244). The first two used to reside together, but grew to large, so they were split. All sorted by author's last name.
I usually wait a while before shelving aquired books, as I have to move many books to keep the alphabeticly order.

The remaining books are non-fiction, and sorted by subject, and then by height.

Nov 4, 9:53 am

>69 quondame: >70 richardderus: >71 foggidawn: >72 FAMeulstee: Thanks for dropping by and telling us what works for you in the 'shelving books' department.

>72 FAMeulstee: Anita appears to have even more complexity with which to deal because of reading in more than one language. The most foreign language books I have to arrange are all of two dictionaries: a French-English and a Latin-English.

I decluttered Le Petit Prince, Le Silence de la Merand Jean Val Jean some years ago. I was never very accomplished in reading French-language stories.

Nov 4, 5:34 pm

>68 SandyAMcPherson: I've got books scattered all over my house. They are mostly in four separate rooms, plus a spare bedroom where there are some books waiting to be sorted, and my bedroom, where there are a few stacks waiting to be read. For the more organized books, I've got a lot of history (nonfiction), which is grouped pretty much by time period, all the gardening books are together, cookbooks are together, and other nonfiction is mostly grouped by subject. In the living room, we've got mostly classic fiction, plus some odds and ends of nonfiction that I haven't been able to fit elsewhere, and my collection of Peanuts and some other "funnies." Upstairs in the room my husband uses to practice, we've got a collection of his books, a bunch of books on old movies as well as Star Trek that I collected when I was young, and a collection of sports books. There's also a small bookcase built to hold mass market paperbacks. I need to go through those to see what I can cull. In the loft, there's one bookcase that has some books from my childhood and young adult years that I've kept, another with some reference and language books, and some built-ins where we've got some self-help books, some religious books, and a bunch of odds and ends. There are also some boxed up books that still need to be unpacked and sorted. More current fiction is scattered throughout the house, wherever there's some space.

Overall, it's not especially well organized, but like things are mostly together and I usually know where to look to find things.

>73 SandyAMcPherson: I picked up several copies of The Little Prince in different languages when I was in Japan, to help me with my language studies.

Nov 4, 5:43 pm

I have some 'special' collections - my Viragos, Persephones, Chalet School books and 'Girlsown' books - which have particular bookcases, in various rooms, and are each arranged alphabetically by author, or, in the case of the Chalet School books, in series order. The main collection is in two large bookcases along one end of the living room and is arranged in simplified Dewey order and alphabetically by author within each Dewey number, if required. We moved just over a year ago into a much smaller house and I had to sell or donate four large bookcases-worth of paper books. I was happy to swap to ebooks for a lot of titles but some paper books will stay with me until The End!

Nov 4, 7:51 pm

Hi Sandy, don't faint, it really is me, actually visiting your thread, which I have been enjoying, esp. the rant at the top! Absorbed here at the end by descriptions of disposition of books in various houses . . . mine used to be orderly in our former abode, basically because there were more bookshelves. Or maybe there were fewer books? No matter. At this point the arrangement is so esoteric I can't even begin to describe why any book is anywhere. . . however anyone who stays in our guest room gets what I consider my best reads in a variety of categories. I've had guests declare they would like to stay for a year just to read the books. That's a high compliment!

Nov 5, 5:52 am

>73 SandyAMcPherson: No, 99,9% of our books are in Dutch. I rarely read in an other language, except here on the threads ;-)
I separated the foreign writers from the Dutch writers

Nov 5, 9:16 am

>74 atozgrl: Irene, using several copies of The Little Prince in different languages is brilliant ~ what a clever way to augment your language studies.

I admire your being able to find books in the way you've shelved them. I suspect my super-orderly system is because I am not so good at knowing where to look, so having specific "genre" bookcases have helped me.

Thanks for dropping by.

Nov 5, 9:19 am

>75 CDVicarage: Full of respect for your use of the Dewey numbering. That was a system I never intuitively understood.

If (when?) we make a downsizing move, I will be hard-pressed to cull the books on 'my' shelves. Mr. SM will probably have to rent a storage locker, because I can't see how he would ever manage to cut down his library.

Nov 5, 9:31 am

>76 sibylline: Lucy! I didn't faint, but I was really surprised (and happy) to see you posted here. Esoteric works as long as *you* can find what title/author is wanted, yes?

Re guest room books: I recently visited a good friend and discovered how enriching it is to be around other people's bookshelves. This friend reads widely in non-fiction and I started The Old Ways: a Journey on Foot . I tend towards escapism novel-reading, but in the past enjoyed Rory Stewart's travelling on foot and other stories when he was in Iraq.
The start of Macfarlane's book was very engaging, so I put the title on a library WL, because I'm currently swamped with requests that will come in as a cascade. I do want to finish the story.

Editado: Nov 5, 9:39 am

This morning I've had a great time reading on Peggy's thread about Aphantasia. A new concept to me regarding visualization.
I'm posting here mostly to see what others might say and I will be able to find the comments there (or here). It's a fascinating topic.

Nov 5, 8:52 pm

Thanks for stopping by on my new thread, Sandy. I must weight in on the important subject of clothes dryer vs hanging your clothes out to dry - which I think you initiated over on Anita's thread. Personally , I have done both, but have never been without a clothes dryer. I do recall my maternal grandma , who did not have a dryer , hanging out clothes in Winnipeg, all year round, and the clothes coming in frozen and stiff as a board during the winter. Of course my grandma hung out the clothes all year round and she was a real hold out with her wringer washer. I'm not sure if my mom always had a clothes dryer. I suspect not in the early days, but by the time I was 5 or 6 , she had a clothes dryer, but always favoured the outdoor clothes line. Now the she is 81, I think she just uses the clothes dryer and hang some things to dry inside. Now that I am in a townhouse, I cannot have an out door line. So we have a couple of indoor hangers for drying delicates and blouses and t shirts.

Amazing what we can find to discuss about laundry. My son and his wife have their washer and dryer in their kitchen, but that is a space thing for them.

Nov 5, 10:06 pm

>68 SandyAMcPherson: I try to keep my bookshelves mostly organized by genre and within that genre alphabetically by author. I have separate shelves for books in different languages which are sorted alphabetically by author.

Nov 6, 12:36 am

Interesting seeing how people organize their books. I read exclusively tree books which take up space. Good thing I have a lot of it in a 3 floor townhouse. My non-fiction is set up by subject and then alphabetically within those subjects in my basement library. The walls in the basement are lined with bookcases mostly Billys. My fiction is the shelves of my walk in closet and the trunk and stacks on the trunk in my bedroom and in a bookcase in one of the spare rooms. It is in no specific order except for that one bookcase which has double shelved GNs, genealogical mysteries and true crime books. I really need to do some culling or at least read the fiction I have instead of getting books from the library.

Nov 10, 10:13 am

November seems to be flying by and I am low on energy these days. Probably need to resume my walking out of doors schedule, which always helps my mood.
Except I have come down with yet another cold virus.

I'm partly at fault for catching something, because over this whole year, I wasn't wearing a mask which I 'got away' with in the summer but I really should have resumed when the flu and cold virus infections picked up in our community. I'm like a lot of people in just being so tired of having to "mask up" but obviously it really was making a difference.

>82 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb. It certainly is amazing what we can find to discuss about laundry! It's probably one of the top 3 household time-gobblers we have (vacuuming the house and cooking/cleaning up the kitchen come to mind as other chores that eat my day).

>83 figsfromthistle: >84 Familyhistorian:, I enjoyed reading how you organize books. Thanks for dropping by.
Anita, what other languages do you read? I am a real slug with having let my abilities en français deteriorate.
Meg, I had no idea you lived in such a spacious townhouse. I remember (maybe incorrectly?) that your property was being sold to a different agency. Did that ever get resolved? I think I last noticed that you had mentioned paving projects which entailed parking your car some distance away.

I looked around the house yesterday to locate one of my books in progress and somehow Mr. SM and I have managed to develop TBRs on the side tables along with the ones we'e reading. So I am not as tidy as I seem to think.

Nov 10, 11:18 am

Reading update: nothing like sofa-surfing to get some books finished.

My library requests for a couple books finally had copies on hold. The queue was quite long but I've enjoyed these two:

94. ~ (Richard Osman)
The idiosyncratic characters really make this story enjoyable, although the mystery aspect felt a little too unrealistic to be especially engaging. There were a few unfinished situations which left me wondering who the culprit was in one of the murders, though I probably missed a nuance that other readers caught onto. I think the strongest aspect of this series is the character development. Readers really enjoy the books best if read in order.
This was a multi-BB hit: several LTers in this 75-group recommended it, assuring us that it was as good or better than book 2. I hadn't read Osman for quite awhile because the first 2 books were too implausible for my pandemic-brain to wrap around. Book 3 was worth it for the light reading and escapism.

95. ~ (Libby Page)

Intriguing aspect for a quest journey. The society of older women was well-portrayed and the idea that elderly folk can also experience a coming-of-age in their lives was a refreshing look at the human condition.
A BB from Kerry (CDVicarage)

Strangely, my 2023 reading tag says I have 98 titles but I've only posted 95 on my list. I guess I'll have to figure this out (after more cups of coffee, perhaps?).

Nov 10, 11:21 am

I am gobsmacked at the fact that there are only 51 days left in 2023. What the heck?! Where has this decade gone? Third one of the new millennium and I ain't even sure why it's not Y2K anymore.

Read hearty this weekend, it won't solve your problems but could, if you choose wisely, make you glad you don't have theirs. *smooch*

Editado: Nov 10, 12:21 pm

>87 richardderus: I am also in that 'gobsmacked' mind set. The years have slipped away and What the heck? is right. I feel as if my retirement years have been wholly unproductive (more than 10, now and counting).
Friends have observed that the pandemic derailed so many opportunities and plans. I think that is correct. ANd I am at an age where one's health is not very reliable for some of the *original* plans I had.
As you say, reading lends itself to escape and one must choose wisely. I want to avoid reading anything that creates worse problems, mentally speaking.

Nov 11, 7:05 am

Hi Sandy! I like your take on the Thursday Murder Club books. I agree the mysteries lean towards the preposterous and yet that hasn't mattered to me because I love the characters so much.

Nov 11, 8:37 am

>89 lauralkeet: Laura, *exactly*!!
Agreed that the author achieves a satisfying narrative despite the improbability. In many mysteries, I often don't enjoy the preposterous (as you say) turns in the story, but Osman writes with a light hand and creates good characterizations. Honestly, I find it a comfort read 😊

Nov 11, 8:44 am

Remembrance Day in Canada.
I love that Canada Post has commemorated a truly heroic woman.

Quoting Krystal Tanner, curator and manager, Randall House Museum,

I’ve been sharing Mona’s story for 14 years and I still to this day get shivers when I tell it to a visitor. Each time the look on their face is the same – astonishment. It is both profound and inspiring. She truly is a Canadian heroine who deserves to have her story shared.

Too many stories of historically important women have disappeared. Postage stamps are a beautiful way to bring the stories forward in the public eye.

Nov 11, 9:00 am

>91 SandyAMcPherson: The art world has a similar, if not-heroic, airbrushing story. The unjust valorization of Jackson Pollock.

Nov 11, 10:17 am

>91 SandyAMcPherson: - Thanks for that, Sandy. I am one who never heard of her but love that she is being remembered in this way. There was also a series of stamps recently commemorating Quebec feminists.
And there is a gorgeous new series of stamps for winter/Christmas:

Nov 11, 11:37 pm

>92 richardderus: Ah yes, I've heard that JP was not the originator, but I didn't know the back story. Thanks for the link to the Lit Hub story.

I do like reading Literary Hub; I recently placed a hold on Brushed aside: the untold story of women in art after seeing a comment there about Charney's book. It's on order at the library, so I'll probably not get a chance to read it until into the next year.

Nov 11, 11:43 pm

>93 jessibud2: Looked online using your url (thanks for that).
The new stamps for Christmas are lovely, very stylized in a way that reminds me of Lawren Harris's snowy renderings.

I would have liked to see equal credit for the artist who actually painted the illustrations that formed the postage stamp's final designs. Not to take away from Saulnier's design work, but Tim Zeltner brought the concept to life through his artwork.

Thanks for reminding me to think about cards and stamps. Guess it's time of year. Feels like the YuleTide sure snuck up fast

Nov 11, 11:47 pm

Lovely new stamp, Sandy! And great new Christmas stamps as well. I have purchased my Christmas cards, but not yet my stamps.
Dave is retiring in March 2024. We are both looking forward to it! He'll be 67 in December, so it is well earned.

Nov 11, 11:55 pm

Updated my Currently Reading post. Though, more appropriately, not reading, TBH.

I have Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher as my only selection for an evening read what with finishing my e-book (Osman) and abandoning the other two I started earlier.

I'm not convinced N & B will be quite where I want my reading to go. So far, isn't grabbing me though Foggidawn recommended I give it a try because it improves as a quest fantasy once you get into the story ~ only, I'm in the mood to be engaged from the get-go.

Nov 12, 7:40 am

>91 SandyAMcPherson: I used to know what stamps were released as I collected stamps and first day covers. Canada always makes good choices as to the people they commemorate.

Happy Sunday!

Nov 12, 8:43 am

>98 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita, yes, Canadian postage stamps have always been very collectible, having world-wide popularity for their quality. If I remember correctly, other countries had a printing arrangement with the Canadian printers to produce philatelic-quality postage.

Editado: Nov 27, 8:34 pm

Update time: we've had 'flu in our house and I haven't finished reading anything! So far, negative for Covid, but I'm never sure anymore if the rapid tests pick up the latest variants. Whatever, still feeling very poorly.

I had a neighbour return Nettle and Bone unfinished because the due date arrived and it wasn't renewable. So much for Kingfisher.

The kind neighbour picked up two holds for me (have yet to start):
The Lost Library ( a BB from both Amber's and Beth's (BLBera) threads) and The Man Who Died Twice (because I read this so long ago and then felt a bit lost when I read The Bullet That Missed.

I have nearly finished Mysteries of Thorn Manor and it was actually book 2. So I haven't a sense of the story as much as I could have. I requested Sorcery of Thorns and *of course* there's a waiting list.
M of T-M was a BB but I didn't make a note of the member.

Nov 20, 4:01 pm

Some good reading! Hope the flu leaves quickly.

Nov 20, 10:02 pm

>100 SandyAMcPherson: I'm sorry to hear that you've been feeling so badly. I hope you're finally starting to feel better today, and that your reading picks up soon.

Nov 20, 11:30 pm

Hi Sandy, I hope you've been paroled by the flu and are free of strict confinement.

Nov 21, 9:18 am

>101 drneutron: Thanks Jim. The 'flu vaccine booster is doing its thing, and I am recovering already.

Nov 21, 9:20 am

>102 atozgrl: Thank you, Irene.
Today, much improvement. And I am halfway through one of my library loans now. Lots of sofa surfing.

Nov 21, 9:35 am

>103 quondame: Hi Susan. Thanks for visiting here. I'm doing better than some of my family, that's for sure. One daughter (lives elsewhere), actually tested positive for Mr. Covid.
I found some escapist reading with library loans and, as I said to Irene, recuperating on the sofa was big on my agenda. I will venture out today since all the symptoms have ameliorated. More book holds appeared for me at the local PL, so I will make a test run for stamina.

Nov 21, 10:28 am

Recovery-soon *whammy*s headed northwestward. Flu is not a joke, and COVID's Omicron variant is getting more and more adept at evading our immune responses...I do so hate those careless lab workers in Wuhan for unleashing this hellish thing on us.

Lie around, do the minimum, recuperate your energy, enjoy whatever you can! *smooch*

Nov 21, 3:24 pm

Sorry to see you have been hit by the dreaded flu, Sandy. I hope you and your family are over the worst of it now. Re your question to me above, yes our townhouse complex was up for sale, 3 bids that all fell through when each developer came down millions in their offer (this was while housing prices were going through the roof here.)

I had not heard of Mona Parsons which is strange as I also went to Acadia and actually would have been attending university at the same time that she was in the town prior to her death. She led such a difficult and active life!

Nov 21, 8:47 pm

>107 richardderus: enjoy whatever you can! Yuppers! Thanks 💖
I am fooling around on memory lane with old people talk heh heh.

Nov 21, 8:57 pm

>108 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, Thanks for visiting.
I have bounced back pretty well now and have to say I'm sure the vaccines have made it faster to recover.

I do agree with >107 richardderus: that Covid was a deliberate development in a very poorly managed setting and I believe always meant for nefarious purposes.

Only it fatefully backfired. 'They' were playing with a fire they didn't understand and through a deceptive path to funding (if the early posts from whistle-blowers have it right), was from outside that country. I would supply a link, but the research into this situation which was on Medium has moved and the blog needs a log in, assuming where I originally read the info was the same blog.

Nov 22, 10:24 am

Reading mo-jo picking up, I am happy to report.
Last night, I just finished the hilarious romp with an Osman re-read, The Man Who Died Twice. I first read that in 2019 and couldn't remember the "gang" when I read the more recent The Bullet That Missed. I think I have some reviews to post because I didn't review Osman's Book 2 at the time.

I think my mood determines to great effect on whether something engages me. I'm going to try Ann Cleeves, The Rising Tide tonight.

I get to start The Thief Lord, too. It's ready for pick up. Good thing winter is setting in here with a big -20 oC overnight thump predicted, because there's the proverbial library cascade happening.

Safe travels and happy American Thanksgiving to everybody. I hope the gatherings are a joy for all and no one receives a dose of infection along with the turkey.

Nov 22, 10:39 am

>111 SandyAMcPherson: I hope you will enjoy The Rising Tide today, Sandy. I very much empathize with your no-review-no-memory issue! It isn't a guarantee that I will remember a book I *did* review but it is a guarantee that I *won't* remember one I did not.

>109 SandyAMcPherson: Listservs! LiveJournal! 1337-speak! Wow, old days indeed.

Nov 24, 9:05 pm

I'm happy that your reading mojo is picking up , Sandy and that you are feeling better. Glad you finding books that you enjoy. We are also different in our tastes. Whatever you enjoy, is a good book. Yikes, -20 C overnight! I'm enjoying watching the Vera series on BritBox and I have read quite a few of Ann Cleeves books.

Editado: Nov 25, 9:42 am

>112 richardderus: Hi Richard, I have a library book cascade, but it's all good. I had one hold that I picked up at an earlier time (before The Rising Tide) and will read it first, just to stay in sync with my due dates.

It's a bit of a weird YA read (for me), The Ghost Drum (Susan Price). I think I requested the wrong book, meaning to get The Painted Drum (Louise Erdrich, a BB I saw on Lucy's thread). Talk about mindfulness being off in la-la land!

Nov 25, 9:11 am

>113 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb, thanks for visiting. Friends tell me that mild Covid can feel like a 'flu bug, so who knows what we all had around here, eh?

I remember watching 'Vera' when PBS (Masterpiece Theatre) was hosting the series. I liked that we could watch a mystery show with NO Ads interrupting it (they have the sense to insert the adverts at the beginning and end, as you probably know).

Happy weekend and good reads ahead!

Nov 25, 9:40 am

>114 SandyAMcPherson: A girl called Chingis (Genghis in old money)? Princess in the tower gender-flipped? I'm glad you told me this was a boo-boo or I'd be worried....

*smooch* for a happy Saturday's reads

Nov 25, 9:46 am

>116 richardderus: I know! Boo-boo indeed. I did wonder what I'd done when I got the book (via Mr. SM, who checked out the holds for me that day).
I've decided to DNF it, and took it off my 2023 reading list. I'm up to #99 now, with having finished The Man Who Died Twice.

Editado: Nov 25, 10:06 am

I've fallen behind in posting book reviews and keeping my Books read November list up to date.
Besides my spending down time quarantining with some virus or other, this is a very busy month --- the art community is flourishing with public exhibitions (pre-Christmas sale promotions).

I will plan to catch up by December. That month clunks down and writing my far flung family and friends is a priority.

PS. A quote I lifted from Linda's thread is worth reposting:
from Jon Clinch's The General and Julia:

"...they are organized the way a hurricane is organized, madly a-spin around a terrible void. That void is hatred, and it draws every weak and broken thing to it."

I think that is something that is happening in both Canadian and American societies. If I understood correctly, Clinch was writing about what Ulysses Grant thought of the KKK.

Nov 25, 10:16 am

Oh, Sandy! I can't possibly catch up although I tried. Your painted fabrics are fabulous. I'm so glad that you posted them and that I came to see them.

I couldn't read Perfume either, and I really do want to try it again sometime. Not now!

Now you have me off to see what Scalzi I own unread and to see about the availability of Starter Villain. Thank you, I think!

Nov 26, 12:58 am

>114 SandyAMcPherson: Now The Ghost Drum looks just up my alley! I did enjoy The Painted Drum, so I hope you do too!

Editado: Nov 27, 8:36 pm

>120 quondame: Hi Susan. I hope you like Ghost Drum. I'll look forward to your thoughts. I added The Painted Drum to my WL list at the PL and will have a bit of a wait before I request it.

Just finished The Lost Library (a Rebecca Stead/Wendy Mass collaborative book). I enjoyed it a lot though many folks may feel differently, judging by the ratings. It was first, a BB from Amber, then re-BB'd from Beth's thread.

Will post a review soon. Today is a busy one with an art workshop all afternoon and I am only somewhat organized with the supplies suggested we bring.

Nov 27, 12:14 pm

>118 SandyAMcPherson: So sorry you were laid low by a nasty virus, but glad you are feeling better now, and reading well, apparently.

The quote from The General and Julia was more an omniscient narrator characterization, not directly attributed to Grant. But the context made it clear that Grant's father-in-law was a despicable, die-hard Confederate, whom Grant did not admire, and the narrator was definitely associating "Colonel" Dent with the KKK in attitude, if not in practice.

Nov 29, 9:54 pm

>122 laytonwoman3rd: I agree, it was an insight that Clinch surmised from his research.
I guess he couldn't have known an exact quotation unless Grant specifically wrote that in a memoir. Still, it was such a good visualization of that as a metaphor for societal ills such as KKK.

Thanks for clarifying, Linda. I appreciate your visiting.

Editado: Dez 2, 12:50 am

I messed up my list at >3 SandyAMcPherson: My 2023 tags listed as finished #105 books, but I had only 97 listed. Found the misses with going offline to my Excel spreadsheet.

The earlier months, I left posted at #3.
For the curious, I pasted, with ratings, the November books and the missing titles from #3. Everything is reviewed on the book pages, should you want to read my evaluations.

These are the missing titles from various months...
A Civil Contract ~
The Nonesuch ~
Hot Art ~
The House of Many Ways ~
The Broken Citadel ~
The Convenient Marriage ~

End of November
The Lost Library ~
The Thief Lord ~
The Man Who Died Twice ~
The Bullet That Missed ~
The Vintage Shop of Second Chances ~

Currently Reading (taken from >4 SandyAMcPherson:)
This one can go onto December's list ~
With Lawrence in Arabia ~ skimming a bit here and there, it being a history know well. Thomas loves to provide a lot of backstory.

Waiting in the wings:
The Rising Tide
Mr. SM has taken a shine to Ann Cleeves... I'll read soon though. He's a zippy reader.

I'm going to finish McKinty's In the Morning I'll Be Gone (Book 3) tonight, now that I'm well into it. Definitely gripping as the ending approaches.

Editado: Dez 1, 12:11 am

#106 In the Morning I'll Be Gone (Adrian McKinty)


I gave the Sean Duffy series a rest, since books 1 and 2 didn't sit well with me. The writing was very effective but the Irish setting and situations of the 1980's in those stories were so dismal.
Happily, Book 3 was a great improvement, perhaps because I'm less stressed out by the pandemic (compared to my reading in 2020, 2021). I guess I wasn't so deeply drawn in by the morose Sean Duffy, having more equanimity to take in the history of 'The Troubles'.

In this story, Duffy is still a troubled soul, unhappily following a demoted status in the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Events develop promote his status change and the chronicle of his past pervades the present action. The plot was delightfully twisty and in McKinty-fashion, governed by Duffy's Irish roots and helped by his intimate knowledge of the people and the culture from his childhood.

The mystery was a four-star read for me because I was delighted with the locked-room aspect and never had an inkling as to 'whodunit' until after a few small reveals. It was an excellent plot that way. However, I was less impressed with McKinty's crafting of the spectacular threats planned by IRA activists. I think the story could have been finessed much more neatly, though I admit to being glued to the book through the last several chapters.

Editado: Dez 1, 8:01 am

Happy Friday!

I hope you are feeling better!

Dez 1, 8:41 am

Hi Anita, I have recovered from whatever lurgy I caught.
Messed about yesterday on LT, quite a bit to make my "books read" list complete, which took some sleuthing. I had typed in tags separated with ; instead of , and not ll the 2023 titles were appearing when I sorted by tags for the year. Ho hum.

How is the Ontario weather treating you? Relatives tell me a big snow is due, but I just visited your thread and see you mention rain and that it is mild outside. I should go back and delurk!!

Editado: Dez 2, 6:12 pm

Finished my first story for December. Happy it was a 4-star book!
#107 Parachute Kids (Betty C. Tang)


This the best of the graphic novels I've added so far to my LT catalogue.
Tang has written her novel of real-life difficulties drawn from situations her own family and other friends experienced. The story very poignantly illustrated how difficult it is for the school-age people to integrate into a white North American society. It was a fascinating insight about immigrants to the USA from Taiwan with a well-done portrayal of specific challenges.

One can imagine this would be 100x harder without the parents there to support the children, while managing the adult responsibilities. Their kids having to adjust to school in a foreign language and an unfamiliar culture is an emotionally-challenging prospect. Tang keeps it realistic and shows the small ways it is so hard to adapt.

Especially valuable are the episodes that show what's different between the new country and the one the kids left behind: cultural expectations, teen reading material, strict enforcement of school apparel and personal appearances, not to mention political unrest, and families wanting safer places to live and raise their children.

A slight diversity in the sexual orientation of one of the characters in this novel was adroitly introduced. I think this small twist shows the social problems that exist in both countries, but that there is considerably less latitude within the immigrant family experience for acceptance.

I especially related to how these kids felt to be left in a North American society while the parents returned to their home country: strange - abandoned - bereft. That's because I got to know some Chinese families in the Vancouver area through my grandchildren's Asian friends at their school.

Dez 2, 10:36 am

>128 SandyAMcPherson: Unsurprisingly, since I don't much like comic books, I'll pass on that read. There are a few of them I've taken to, but never the ones that seem to enchant others. It's what comes of not *feeling* that genre of storytelling.

Happy-weekend *smooch*

Editado: Dez 2, 11:02 am

>129 richardderus: I actually agree with you on that point: there's a distracting interplay between art and story that I don't like.

I want my imagination to build on the written word. Thus, there are only 4 GN's in my LT catalogue of 840+ books (which is 1/10 of what's in our personal library here).

As a kid, I read no end of comics, especially the superhero genre and later the Archie & Veronica sagas. I outgrew the comics before I was a teenager, although when I encountered Tin Tin and the Asterix publications, I bought them for my kids and had a good laugh with them.

In Linda Barry's Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor for example, her teaching art message was lost in such a visually-saturated book. The pages were so busy that the high-energy impact took a lot of processing to get the point.
I also read Hillary Chute's Why Comics and now feel that there was a bit of tunnel vision going on. I think GN's are just not my thing, though its underground vibe appeals to my (inner) rebellious child. I still laugh when I see Gilbert Shelton's Furry Freak Brothers, so very 1968.

Dez 2, 11:07 am

>130 SandyAMcPherson: Though I read more graphic novels than you, I also struggle with them. My text-oriented brain just wants to read the words, and I forget to "read" the art, which can lead to some confusion when an aspect of the story is only present in the pictures.

Dez 2, 11:14 am

>130 SandyAMcPherson:, >131 foggidawn: I think that I respond less than enthusiastically to comics because I feel it's MY job to "see" the action inherent in the words.

Looking at artworks is a separate activity to me. I was surrounded by art all my life, and friends with artists whose work I was enriched by (still have some on my walls!) so the story being plonked on top of the art just does not compute to me. Asterix and I got on well enough but Tintin annoyed me...less so than Superman and his ilk did, however.


Dez 2, 8:51 pm

>131 foggidawn: Me, too, foggi:
I forget to "read" the art, and then wallow around because I didn't pick up the storyline via the visuals.

I always have to tune up my awareness to connect properly to GN's. Which may explain why I am less drawn to that sort of presentation. So, the experience isn't the same as my "imagining" in all-word narratives. Kind of an exercise in two ways to take in a story at the same time.

Dez 2, 9:02 pm

>132 richardderus: I think I'm more on that page, too, Richard. I don't particularly seek out GNs unless there's some compelling reason.

Mixing a little bit of illustration in a written work is okay, but I'd rather not have to do all that separated brain processing work and just read or only process the visuals!

Maybe that's why I like those art exhibitions where there's an introductory blurb posted at the beginning, as a stand alone before the artwork.

Then I can go look at whatever is displayed and let the visuals paint whatever they will on my memory. I like the quiet times, right at opening, and no one is impatient if I peer at the work for longer than the other viewers care for.

I didn't fare very well at the Guggenheim when I visited. That spiral winding ramp was a constant flow of people and so distracting (it was a Kandinsky show and pretty crowded). (Yeah, got off topic here...)

Dez 3, 11:52 am

#108 Gallows Thief (Bernard Cornwell)


Quite the gritty story, set in post-Napoleanic London at a time when the justice system was venal and uncaring. Executions were frequently by hanging and a source of enthusiastic public spectacles.

Having forgotten that I read this story about 10 years ago, it now strikes me that many passages are quite repetitious. The ending was predictable, which takes away from building suspense. Prolonged chases to track down the main witness were tedious, since by then it seemed a bit pointless.

The story had a serious flaw in that the central theme upon which the mystery revolved was nonsensical: the murderer was wealthy and had covered his tracks perfectly adequately for the times. I admired the main protagonist (as I did in the first reading), which is a plus. The author's historical notes at the end were illuminating of the times and very useful to put the novel's setting in perspective.

This was a BB from somewhere on LT and a good reminder to check my old spreadsheet, pre-LT days. Not that I minded the re-read, though a bit unsettling to have not a nonce of memory about the book.

Dez 3, 3:20 pm

>135 SandyAMcPherson: I've has that sort of unsettling experience many times, sometimes when I know in advance that I have read the book!

Editado: Dez 3, 5:00 pm

>136 quondame: Thanks for the comforting, "Yup, been there too" sentiment. I was surprised how much 'not-remembering' unsettled me.

Dez 3, 5:45 pm

#109 The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt (R. Nason, author; B Eggenschwiler, illustrator)


A perfect Halloween story for sensitive little ones, children who have very vivid imaginations, and lack the maturity to feel happy at what can be scary to them when they're out in the dark.

I was especially enchanted with the zen appeal of delicate illustrations.
Byron Eggenschwiler excelled at conveying an atmospheric feel of both the ethereal ghosts and the trick-or-treating humans without swamping the story.

A few images of the artwork which include a few snippett's of author Nason's adroit story telling ~ probably too tiny to read (I had the e-book version) but anyway, this is all about the illustrations



A charming and comforting read for me, especially after the disquieting event of 'not-remembering' previous book (at >135 SandyAMcPherson:). Children's literature is amazing for restoring some equanimity. Best medicine ever (besides afternoon naps).

Dez 4, 9:09 am

>137 SandyAMcPherson: I've had that experience, too -- once I had apparently read the third book in a series, not realizing it was part of a series. I later read the whole series, but I didn't realize the third book was a reread until I went to enter it in LT! The other time, I had read a book under the American title, and then reread the British title, and I thought it seemed familiar, but didn't fully realize it was a reread until I was well into it (and I still couldn't remember how it ended, so I kept reading).

Dez 4, 10:07 am

>139 foggidawn: Hi Foggi, Thanks for sharing that story. I think sometimes I'm more tired than I realize and the ol' brain cells (frontal lobes?) just lie down on the job. The isolation and stress of the last 3 years have really taken a toll.
How did the Christmas story time go at the tree-lighting event? I hope the weather wasn't inclement... I have only a vague notion of what your Ohio climate is like in December.

Dez 4, 12:25 pm

>140 SandyAMcPherson: I agree, the past few years have been rough on my brain cells, too. The Christmas stories went over well, and it was a nice evening for an Ohio December: temps in the 40s (Farenheit), and no precipitation, though it rained the day before and the day after. I was under a roof, and they had a rocking chair for me and straw bales covered with quilts for the kids to sit on, and I just read a book any time I had an audience. (There was a craft and a game set up in the same building, so I wasn't the only draw.)

Dez 4, 1:44 pm

>138 SandyAMcPherson: I'll take the art, and the naps, with equal satisfaction, Sandy. *smooch*

My reason for writing reviews from the start, more than twenty-five years ago, was to minimize the instances of >135 SandyAMcPherson:'s disquieting occurences. Works most of the time but I still get caught out.

Dez 6, 9:28 am

>139 foggidawn: Added to say, I kept on reading a number of books this year because I wasn't remembering how the story developed. Most of the time I truly did remember that I read it. I'm going through my bookshelves re-reading the ones I haven't revisited for a long time. Some culling going on, as I realize I have no intention of re-reading certain titles.

>142 richardderus: I wish I'd written reviews back when I first started to keep a list of Authors/Titles and year read. At the time, I simply rated the books as VG, G and P (P= poor). Not very helpful...

Dez 6, 9:42 am

#110 Animal Farm (George Orwell)


As part of my year's reading in 2023, I've been going through what's on my shelves that I hadn't read since retiring (10 years, now).
I know, y'all y'alls have probably read this Orwell classic (like me, in high school and beyond). My review today (since I'd never posted the book on LT):

A satire of the Russian revolution, using farm animals as an allegory for the hierarchical nature of human society. A re-read after many years, and still resonates with me as a wickedly accurate insight. The final sentence is such a classic: The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

This edition (1946) belonged to my parents and it's not being culled. Such an interesting classic. The story hasn't lost its chilling effect, either. Sadly, seems so pertinent through the decades.

Weird thing Mr. SM discovered (and makes me laugh): on eBay there's the dust jacket (no book, just the DJ) offered for (get ready): US$120. Not that I'm selling. Bu I was shocked. The book isn't all that rare, but perhaps intact DJs of this edition are.

Dez 6, 10:01 am

>127 SandyAMcPherson: Glad you are feeling better. The snow was in the North of Ontario and luckily I live in the south :)

Happy Wednesday!

Dez 6, 10:31 am

>144 SandyAMcPherson: $120 better get you a *perfect* example. That's a helluva price for ephemera.

Happy Wednesday, Sandy!

Dez 6, 9:22 pm

>144 SandyAMcPherson: I read Animal Farm for the first time this year. I don't know why it took me so long, it really is an essential read.